Yes, it is important. According to a recent study done by Gleanster, the top performing companies of 2012 are the ones that use tangible measurements and data from mobile commerce, social commerce, Web analytics, etc., to make their marketing decisions. In other words, we can’t keep on making decisions based on creativity and gut feel anymore. If you keep ignoring the data out there, your company is going to be left behind.
Now, how do the top performers make big data manageable?
First, they use marketing automation tools, the most common of which is the batch email campaign. The other methods used, in order of popularity, are drip email campaigns, CRM integration, multi-channel campaigns, and trigger email campaigns.
Second, the top performers invest in system consolidation. This is important because most organizations use several different marketing technologies – such as social media monitoring, mobile commerce, email marketing, and landing page data harvesting – which often do not integrate so that the company can have a single record system for the data that these technologies collect. If system consolidation existed, it would be much easier to collect and analyze pertinent data.
Of course, system consolidation does not appear out of thin air. You need skilled resources, such as IT people who know how to create the hardware and software that you need for consolidating big data, and marketers who know how to use analytics to make and support justifiable decisions.
One skill that a good marketer should have is knowing how to find the right data. As previously mentioned, big data involves a flood of information. You need to sort through that information, to decide which is important and which is not.
And to know which is important, you need to know the right questions to ask. The right data is the answer to the right question.
Now let’s get to the gist: How is big data going to change the marketing landscape in 2013?
- Automated engagement. Presuming that you have achieved system consolidation, your next step will be to get full customer engagement. Business rules will be designed to automate how your company will interact with your customers based on how these customers behave.
Inevitably, this will need financial resources, so your company will need to review its resources and chuck out what legacy systems are no longer working so that they can replace them with what does work.
- Change in roles. In the past, marketing was marketing, and IT was IT. But as big data becomes more and more crucial to marketing, marketers need to learn to communicate with IT. And while marketers in the past were hired for their creativity, the marketers of the present and the future will be hired for their deep analytical skills and ability to make decisions based on big data findings.
- Analytics. As data becomes more accessible to marketers, new insights can be made. Instead of being limited to basic questions such as “How did our marketing campaign go?” we can ask more complex questions such as “What’s our marketing mix?” or “When is the best time to contact people, and is it better to call or email them?”
It is these questions and answers that make big data so crucial to marketing. When the marketer talks to IT, the marketer needs to be able to tell IT what sort of answers he or she is looking for. When the marketer tries to justify the request for new budget in the coming year, these questions and answers are the justification.
With big data, marketing in 2013 becomes largely a matter of knowing the right questions – because the answers are all already there.